Journalists’ Journal – David Perla (Bloomberg Law)

by Tom Mariam on November 23, 2014

PerlaDavid Perla was named president of Bloomberg BNA Legal in July with the goal of overseeing its growth and the development of distinctive content and products for Bloomberg Law.  David is an entrepreneur himself, having co-founded Pangea3, the globally known legal process outsourcing provider.  Prior to joining Bloomberg this summer, he served as Chairman and CEO of Matterhorn Transactions, the web-based legal and financial information services provider. 

 David took time out from his new duties to share his vision for Bloomberg Law and the ever-growing demand for content in the legal industry with Journalists Journal editor Tom Mariam.

How are you trying to shape and position Bloomberg Law?

We’ve built something totally unique here. With a rich tradition and background in content, publishing, technology and analytics, we think differently about solving problems for the legal industry. Moreover, Bloomberg Law is part of a company that has the resources and the drive to be a transformative force in the market – for our clients’ benefit. Our goal is to provide clients information that is faster, more accurate and better integrates with their workflow. We are changing the legal industry by leveraging advanced technology and trusted content to help our clients quickly and accurately find the answers they need and draw essential connections between law, news and business.

How closely related are Bloomberg Law and Bloomberg BNA? Where do they differ, if at all?

Bloomberg Law is the flagship legal product offering available from Bloomberg BNA. Bloomberg BNA has long been known as the gold standard in legal publishing and content, and Bloomberg is well known as a global technology and information leader. Bloomberg Law, as our flagship product, draws on the best assets of both organizations.

How does Bloomberg Law interact with the rest of the Bloomberg information empire?

Bloomberg Law leverages the best that Bloomberg has to offer. It combines BNA’s trusted news and expert analysis with Bloomberg’s comprehensive market data, analytics and cutting-edge technology. As a result of this truly one-of-a-kind combination, Bloomberg Law is a fully integrated legal and business intelligence research solution, enabling legal professionals to provide a new level of proactive counsel and be the best possible advisor to their clients.

We have seen major investments and/or changes in legal industry journalism over the past year. Why is so much attention being focused now on the legal industry?

There are two reasons for this – unprecedented volumes of data and cost pressures. The legal profession is at a point where the influx of data is so great and cost management (a new normal, if you will) is so important that lawyers and legal professionals must obtain the information they need rapidly and cost effectively in order to be successful. This means that legal information providers need to invest in the technology that enables easy access to a wealth of information. Likewise, law professionals – pushed by their own clients – are seeking technology and analytics to help answer questions and solve problems in an unprecedented way. As a result, continuing innovation by third-party vendors such as Bloomberg BNA are helping counsel make better use of the wide range of data that is available to them.

We keep hearing about the importance of content for lawyers and law firms. Why has such a premium been put on it? What content do you feel is particularly in demand?

Information is information – it’s how you harness it. Attorneys and law firms all have access to the same basic content. Success will be achieved by those that harness the intrinsic value of the content faster and more accurately. Lawyers and law professionals need to consume info in radically different ways than before. They need information faster, in a more accurate form, analyzed quickly and creatively and – of course – comprehensively.

In terms of demand, clients today want analytics, technology-driven solutions, practice tools, and integrated search and news platforms. So it’s a wide variety of content that is in demand – and only Bloomberg Law provides legal practitioners an all-in-one solution that integrates news, analysis, business intelligence, primary and secondary sources and practical tools.

How can law firms best work with and use Bloomberg Law?

Law firms and corporate legal departments of all sizes utilize Bloomberg Law as their all-in-one legal and business intelligence research solution. With Bloomberg Law, we have dedicated personnel focused on ensuring clients maximize the value of our solution. We encourage firms to take advantage of the tailored content, intuitive interface and business intelligence we deliver to help them provide proactive counsel and be better business partners. Our clients share certain similarities, but each is unique in its own way. We’ve designed Bloomberg Law to meet all of their needs and business goals.

You were a lawyer originally. Tell us about your experience and how does that background help you direct Bloomberg Law?

Having practiced both in BigLaw and in-house, and having built and run a disruptive company that served both law firm and corporate legal clients, I understand first-hand the legal ecosystem. Consequently, I have a keen understanding of the information and analytic needs of legal professionals. I know what they want in a legal intelligence solution and what resources will make them more successful. That gives me an ideal perspective from which to enhance and develop our products.

One thing people know about me is that I’m a client-facing, top-line leader who is looking to grow Bloomberg Law while at the same time spending time with our customers, learning their needs and enhancing and developing our products to delight and satisfy them — and, most importantly, help them do their jobs better.

How have legal marketing and communications changed since you entered the legal profession?

They have changed dramatically. The way we obtain and communicate information, and what clients expect from us, has changed in the 20-plus years since I finished law school. In those days, marketing usually meant bringing a firm or practice group brochure to lunch with a prospect, or perhaps preparing a semi-customized presentation. Most clients made engagement decisions based on the lawyers at a firm, and historical representation.

Today, none of that suffices. In our new normal, the need for timely, accurate information is more critical than ever before – and that’s impacted legal marketing and communications as it has the entire legal profession. Being a great law professional isn’t enough anymore – it’s simply table stakes. Legal professionals need business intelligence and competitive intelligence and tools to help them find and retain new clients, and keep up with their existing clients’ businesses. And that’s where Bloomberg Law fits in.

You also were a successful entrepreneur. Tell us about your experience and how does that background help you grow Bloomberg Law?

My career has been focused on building transformative legal businesses (Matterhorn, Pangea3) and I have extensive experience with legal technology and information. That will be instrumental in overseeing the continued growth of Bloomberg Law. Bloomberg’s reputation for disrupting markets and its focus on innovation, paired with Bloomberg BNA’s authoritative legal content, is the perfect opportunity for someone with my skillset and background. We have a great opportunity for continued, and even accelerated growth, so the attributes that made me successful in my other commercial endeavors – listening to clients, embracing change and experimentation, and being nimble and quick to market – are all open to me in leading Bloomberg Law.

What would you like us to know about you personally?

I’ve got a beautiful and successful wife and three terrific kids, plus the greatest job in the legal industry. So I can’t complain!



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